The many security technologies automobiles are equipped with these days means it is no longer a matter of "jimmying" the lock if you accidentally forget the keys inside. People now need the assistance of a qualified auto locksmith if they cannot get their cars unlocked, and auto unlocking has become a fairly lucrative business. While you can start an auto unlocking business from your home with little capital, this is a highly technical field that requires specialized knowledge and sometimes licensing to pursue.
Obtain locksmith training, specializing in auto unlocking. A number of states license locksmiths, so check with your state government to see if you need a license. Eligibility for licensure usually requires a certain number of training hours, either through an educational institution or on-the-job training, and that you pass an exam. You may also be required to submit to a criminal background check. If your state does not require licensure, it is still a good idea to have this training to avoid damage to customers' property during the unlocking process.
Develop a business plan that outlines the geographical areas you are willing to travel to when assisting customers with unlocking their cars, your fees and accounting methods and an advertising strategy.
Register a fictitious business name certificate or DBA (doing business as) with your local county and/or state government. Unless your business is a sole proprietorship, you may also need to register with the state and county tax boards depending on the sales and/or use tax codes in your locality.
Apply for a business license and any applicable permits with your state, county and city governments. Some locations may have restrictions on where you can operate your auto unlocking business (i.e., only within city limits, within so many miles of your primary business location), so be sure to review the laws pertaining to locksmith businesses carefully to ensure compliance.
Purchase business insurance and bonding. If your state licenses locksmiths, this may be a requirement for maintaining your licensure. If your state doesn't require a license, being bonded and insured is still good protection for your business and for you as a professional. Not only does this protect you in the event of accidental damage, but it gives customers confidence in choosing your auto unlocking service over your competitors.
- "How to Start a Locksmith Business (eBook edition)"; Michael Kiser; 2011